Friday, October 11, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 3 "We Are Everyone" - Review

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 3 We are Everyone


Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) gets some unsolicited help from her friend Emily Hankins (Susan Pourfar), who sets up Joan's profile on an online dating site calledTrueRomantix”. This constitutes the mandatory secondary plot for this episode.

One Mr Mueller (Ronald Guttman) wants Holmes to track down Ezra Kleinfelter (Christian Campbell), a contractor who leaked highly confidential secrets to the media. Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) discovers that Ezra is using Celia Caroll (Laura Osnes) of the Dispatch to publish the secrets.

Sherlock takes the help of his associate, Milton Van Kirk (Peter McRobbie) in the investigation. Holmes suspects that Ezra has killed a known acquaintance.

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Ezra has the support of an anonymous hacker group called “We are Everyone” and the group targets both Holmes and Joan. Soon, power is down at the brownstone and Joan's profile on the dating site is also hacked into.

Holmes and Joan race against time to catch Ezra, before he can leave the US to relocate to an unknown destination. 

The plot has a marked resemblance to the real life incidents involving Edward Snowden. Further, the group “We are Everyone” reminded me of the Anonymous hacker group.

Still, this was one of the most boring episodes of Elementary. After a couple of better-than-usual episodes, the show is back to its usual level of (low) standards.

The references by Miller's Holmes to his former love, Irene Adler/Moriarty (Natalie Dormer) did not help either.

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 3 We are Everyone

The acting by the leads as well as the plot was subpar compared to the previous episodes.

Perhaps, the next episode will be better.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson face a power cut in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 3 We are Everyone


Canonical References

1. Mr Mueller states that Miller's Holmes comes highly recommended from a certain corporation - In the Canon, Sherlock Holmes often received cases through recommendations from previous clients. 

2. Joan Watson is seen typing The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes” on her laptop - Direct reference to Arthur Conan Doyle's final collection of Sherlock Holmes stories of the same name, that were published between 1921 - 1927.
 
Trivia 

The song The Load” by Barbarossa is played in the final scenes, when Miller's Holmes is reading the letter from Jamie Moriarty. 

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48 comments:

  1. It's clear you are not a fan of the show. Why bother reviewing it? Your reviews are so inaccurate it's almost as if you don't watch the entire episodes.

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    1. Thanks for the comment.

      I watch and review the show as objectively as possible. I appreciate the good things and at the same time point out things that can be improved.

      I watch this show (as well as other non-Canonical adaptations) as I enjoy catching the references to Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories.

      Please read the review again. I believe that I have been accurate. Feel free to point out the exact points that need correction.

      I do not reveal all the plot points in my review, so as to keep it as spoiler free as possible for the readers who are yet to watch the episode.

      B2B.

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    2. Tanya's argument to your review could be a little clearer. Although you and I don't always agree, i think you do a great job.

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    3. Thanks John for the compliment. I too wish Tanya had expanded more on her thoughts.

      B2B.

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    4. Agreeing with James. Besides, it's better to get more than one view on something. Fans of something don't always review something.

      (And, if anything, I was probably way more negative in my reviews of last season than you were...)

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    5. Thanks Loveable Freak.

      I look forward to your reviews of the current season of Elementary.

      B2B.

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  2. While I do agree that the episode was not on par with the two episodes, I did enjoy it quite a did more than you did. The computer hacker elements where something that I enjoyed and I thought the episode was funny. My biggest problem with the episode where the references to Irene. At first I liked Sherlock's thoughts on how pointless relationships are and I wish (but doubt) that Sherlock will continue to avoid romance entanglement.

    -James

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    1. Thanks James.

      I agree with you about the Sherlock/Irene/Moriarty relationship in this show. I was hoping that the writers would have moved past that with the end of the first season. Yet, the nonsense continues....

      B2B.

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    2. Since Moriarty has been accused of being just a mind game for Holmes in many other incarnations, I think she could still be using him.

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    3. You are probably right, John.

      I just wish the writers would stop referring to the past relationship between Miller's Holmes and Irene/Moriarty. Time for Miller's Holmes to move on and start considering Moriarty as his arch enemy.

      B2B.

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    4. I agree about time to move on.

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  3. I can't agree more, Buddy and James. I'm ready for Sherlock to move on. I would like to see Adler/Moriarty no more. The show doesn't need her now.

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    1. Thanks Kathleen.

      I do not mind Adler/Moriarty returning to the show, as long as the writers maintain the (Canonically faithful) antagonistic relationship between Miller's Holmes and Moriarty. Moriarty is too important a character in the Canon for the writers to make such drastic changes.

      But then, considering the changes they did to the main character himself...

      B2B.

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  4. Still haven't seen this show, although I feel I know it a little from your reviews! I think the earlier comment of why do you bother watching was rather unfair - I have always found you to be a very even handed reviewer and your love of Sherlock Holmes is obvious. If you find a show under par you should be free to say so. It certainly has zero reputation over in the UK, as we have the clever, lavish and imaginative Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch!

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    1. Thanks GK.

      Feels good to be vindicated by some of my favorite bloggers. As you said, one has a right to express his/her opinion. After all, that is what a honest review is all about.

      Though, I am not at all surprised to know that the show has no following across the pond :)

      B2B.

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  5. The highlights for me in this episode are:

    Sherlock picking fights in Internet chat rooms to get information.(a continuation of something established in the "Red Team" episode).

    Their trip to visit the expert on New York City architectural history. I like that is shows one reason how Sherlock is so knowledgeable about so many things, that he has the curiosity to gather this information to this extent. I also liked that Sherlock developed enough wisdom to warn Watson against asking the expert about the state of completion his biographical work. Most of all, I liked that the expert might have given Watson the idea to start writing a biography on Sherlock.

    Sherlock doing his Sherlock-thing with the Secret Service guys.

    Watson lockpicking and later pickpocketing.

    Watson stating others should "know him like she does" to holmes and then begins to write a biography.

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    1. Thanks zenzmurfy for the comment. Refreshing to hear from a reader who enjoyed the episode so much.

      You offered a different perspective from mine.

      If I may be so bold to ask: Have you read the original stories by Arthur Conan Doyle?

      B2B.

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    2. I never read the original stories or watched the old movies or seen the Jeremy Brett tv series. I did see the Guy Ritchie movies and that was my introduction to Sherlock Holmes lore.

      I might eventually read the original novels. Jonny Lee Miller says he is basing his portrayal of Sherlock from the books which makes me curious about the original stories. That and Sherlock referring to past cases in the show.

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    3. Thanks zenzmurfy for the reply.

      I am not really sure what Miller means by that statement. His version of Holmes is millions of miles distant from the version as created by Arthur Conan Doyle. For starters, Doyle's detective neither took drugs in the midst of an investigation nor did he have sex with any woman (including Irene Adler a.k.a "The Woman").

      I do enjoy the references to original stories in the show. But that's about it.

      Even Lucy Liu's version of Watson is markedly different from her counterpart in the books. But at least, she is smarter and that can be taken as a positive change.

      The changes done to Miller's Holmes on the other hand.... And I am not even talking about the decision to merge the characters of Irene Adler and Moriarty or the "love" affair between Holmes and Moriarty....

      I strongly suspect that your opinion of the show might change once your read the original stories and realize the changes/liberties taken by the writers with regards to the iconic characters created by one of the best writers ever.

      B2B.

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    4. I think Miller was referring to portraying Sherlock's personality and emotions and maybe mannerisms. I think the stuff you are objecting to is out of Miller's hands and are from the writers and creator of the show.

      Amazon had several "complete" collection of the Sherlock Holmes novels/short stories for $.99-$2.99. So I am reading "A Study in Scarlet" now :) I am up to chapter 4, at the first murder. So far Holmes' personality seems consistent with Miller's performance. I really liked the origin story about how the two of them got together and Watson's initial observations on Holmes. The list of what things Holmes is ignorant/knowledgeable of was very informative.

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    5. I agree that the characterization of Sherlock Holmes is not in Miller's control, but in the hands of writers and the show creator.

      I appreciate the fact that you have started reading the Canon. I would like to make a suggestion: The entire collection of 56 stories and 4 novels are in public domain. You can read them for free online here .

      Glad to know that you are enjoying A Study in Scarlet. Arthur Conan Doyle was a genius and my all-time favorite author.

      I would suggest A Scandal in Bohemia to understand the role played by Irene Adler in the Canon.

      B2B.

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    6. I really don't want to sound snotty here but honestly...this is kind of sad. You basically got introduced to the character by the adaptations which are the furthest off what Sherlock Holmes makes so great in the first place (don't get me wrong, I understand what people see in the movies, I even put them on my "must watch Sherlock Holmes adaptions ", but if someone would ask me which version is a good introduction to the character, I certainly wouldn't point in their direction). It is like being introduced to Merlin and Robin Hood by the BBC versions of them.
      So I am really glad that you are now reading the original stories...(don't be discouraged by the second part of Study in Scarlet). I think you might understand better why the Sherlock Holmes fans have a problem with the Miller version when you read "Sign of Four" and "Scandal in Bohemia". You might not agree, it will give you a better insight.

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    7. Thanks again for stopping by.

      I think people start taking the first introduction to Sherlock Holmes as the gospel and compare all the later ones against that.

      I am fortunate that I got to the read the Canon first.

      I too like the Guy Ritchie movies for Jude Law's Watson, Jared Harris' Moriarty and Hans Zimmer's music. RDJ's version is more of RDJ than Sherlock Holmes. In a way, RDJ's Holmes is Tony Stark in Victorian times with a British accent. RDJ is charismatic without a doubt, but his was a blockbuster hero version of the classic detective.

      B2B.

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    8. B2B:Sadly for me, reading the original story prior to seeing the movie version almost always means disappointment when I see the movie.

      Anonymous: Thanks! I will check them out.

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    9. zensmurfy, good observation about book-based movie adaptations. Most movies fail to capture the magic of their source material.

      B2B.

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    10. Depends...I rather watch a James Bond movie than reading any of the book, movies based on pulp fiction tend to be better than the source and there are some adaptations, even some which are very....creative... I like just as much as the original.

      I usually prefer to read the books first because the other way around it tends to ruin the suspense of the book. If I had watch the Harry Potter movies first, I would have never had the enjoyment to try and figure out the riddle of the school year myself.

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    11. Well said, swanpride. To paraphrase your comment: "As long as the movie is based on fantasy/escapist fare, movies are better. For mystery/thrillers, books are the way to go."

      I agree 100%. JRR Tolkien is a master story teller and his books are considered the benchmark for the fantasy genre. Still, I have never read the books but seen Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and Ralph Bakshi's animated version.

      B2B.

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    12. Honestly, I just sold the books...they are badly paced, especially the first one, which mostly consist of the main character loosing consciousness and then getting told how he survived the dangerous situation (because I really care when the danger is already over to learn what happened in great detail....NOT). The second one is really good, but the third one is too choppy for my taste.

      For Harry Potter though....never the movies! Never ever! Especially the last ones do a really shitty job to capture what the series is actually really about.

      I don't think that it is a question of genre and more a question how complicated the book is and how well the main aspect of it is translated on screen. Stephen King movies are a good example for it. "The Green Mile", "Shawshank's Redemption", those movies are way better than the story they are based on...but said stories are short stories. I don't think that it is even possible to adapt a book like "It" on screen. And then there are movies like "The Shining", which is certainly a good one, but kind of misses the point of the book by a mile.

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    13. I saw The Shining, but have not read the book. I remember reading somewhere that Stephen King did not like the Stanley Kubrick adaptation.

      B2B.

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    14. He didn't....mostly because of the casting. He said something along the line that the book is about a trouble man who slowly becomes crazy, not about a crazy man who becomes a maniac. He has a point. The character in the book is way more relatable.
      The movie has cult status for a reason, but it is very different from what the book is about. Like most King works, it is very psychological. The movie is more about the horror aspect of the story. But to be fair, a lot of elements in the book are difficult to adapt either way.

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    15. Not being familiar with the book, I will take your word :)

      B2B.

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  6. I guess this show is really for people who like to watch characters who are constantly dwelling in the past.

    Thanks that you are still doing this...I wonder what you think about the cases so far. Does Elementary do better now or does Holmes still do at least two wrong guesses until he gets it right?

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    1. You are welcome, swanpride.

      You are right in your comment about the show being more of a character driven drama than a mystery series with Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective.

      I liked the first episode for the plot and the resolution. The second one had a lot of humor and the plot was OK.

      Unfortunately, this episode failed on both counts. Both the central mystery and the fun component was very weak/lacking, in my humble opinion.

      Joan gets to do nearly as much deductions as Miller's Holmes. This might be the unique appeal of the series: 2 people getting to help each other on a professional as well as personal basis.

      B2B.

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    2. Oh, I don't mind character driven...just this constant "there is something in my past I have to talk about all the times" is not for me. Sherlock for example is character driven, too, since it spends a lot of time on the relationship between Sherlock and John and Sherlock's complicated psyche, though it does balance this aspect out with interesting cases and is therefore giving the audience both, the classic detective story and a lot of character development (well, as much as you can do in just six episodes).
      There are three things which send me running in a TV show. A contrived romantic plot, Daddy issues and tragic pasts.

      Delete
    3. I agree with your thoughts, swanpride.

      BBC Sherlock maintains a good balance between mystery and character development.

      Elementary tends to either lose out on one of these or both in some episodes. As much as I love the Canonical nods, I am not a big fan of Miller's version of Holmes.

      Making Holmes a recovering drug addict with love issues loses the quintessence of Arthur Conan Doyle's genius. In my humble opinion, that is a disservice to such an iconic character.

      B2B.

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    4. It is less the "recovering drug addict" part, it would be okay if they had kept the fact that Holmes took drugs to control his boredom. It's it the love issues which totally go against the very quintessence of the character for me.

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    5. I think the reason I like a flawed version of Holmes with love issues is that it makes him more relatable. It is good that he has room to grow stronger/better while at the same time there is a sword of damocles hanging over him. A superhuman with no flaws and no regrets can easily become predictable and hard to relate to. This might not be the best analogy, I think of Superman versus Spiderman's appeal. One's god-like and the other one is late for school/work/supper. I think Elementary's Holmes is in danger of a fate worse than death because this Holmes can be corrupted, even turned evil. Instead of him just merely being safely dead and virtuous, the monster could turn HIM into a monster which would truly be his complete ruin.

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    6. Well said, swanpride. The "recovering drug addict" part pales in comparison with the love issues. The end result still is a patentably non-Canonical version.

      B2B.

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    7. Interesting thoughts, zenzmurfy.

      What I see as the weakness of the show, seems to be the main appeal of this adaptation from your perspective.

      You would be interested to know that Sherlock Holmes is not a superhuman in the original stories. He has been both outwitted and physically bested in some of the stories. I will not reveal the exact details, so as not to spoil the surprise, as and when you get to read them.

      And further, the Canonical version of Sherlock Holmes does have flaws and and is far more humane than many people believe. He is very considerate to his clients and is especially courteous towards ladies.

      Suffice to say that Sherlock Holmes is a very interesting character, as written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

      Making him relatable completely takes out the fun part out of the character. To me, that is an indication of lazy writing.

      But that is just my personal opinion. I respect yours and believe in the saying: "To each his own".

      Thanks once again for being part of the discussion.

      B2B.

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    8. That is actually something I agree with, zenzmurfy, and I think the analogy is perfect. The thing is though that while Superman is annoying in his perfection, Spiderman can be VERY annoying in his constant whining about his life in which never anything works out the way it should - partly BECAUSE he himself keeps whining about his live instead of trying to change it. That is why Superheroes between those two extremes work way better for me.

      Also, one of the reason the last Superman movie didn't work was because they tried to make him less perfect. Like it or not, the figure was created to be perfect, he can't just start acting like Batman. Than he isn't Superman anymore, but an Batman wannabe.

      Not that Sherlock Holmes really is perfect. I blame Basil Rathbone for this misconception, because he mostly established the idea of the automaton, who is nearly always in control of everything. But that is not the Sherlock Holmes in the book. He is more like the Jeremy Brett take, erratic, often rude and sometimes just plain wrong. You don't have to GIVE the character flaws, because it already HAS flaws. They are not MY flaws, but that makes is even more compelling. His quirks are just as interesting as his perfectly oiled mind. And when he fails, it is interesting to see why he fails.

      To me, taking away the superior mind and the ability to detach doesn't make Holmes relatable. It makes him ordinary.

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    9. Nice comments about the Basil Rathbone movies. His portrayal was too much of a straight arrow. Can't blame him, for the times were tough when the series was made. The audience wanted a hero they can look up to, rather than a complex Bohemian detective.

      Nigel Bruce's portrayal also was way different and created the image of a bumbling/laughing stock Watson that took decades to get corrected.

      "To me, taking away the superior mind and the ability to detach doesn't make Holmes relatable. It makes him ordinary." - Well put and I could not agree more.

      Talking of superhero movies, I am also not a fan of Man of Steel. The Dark Knight effect was just too apparent.

      I personally like The Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Reeve Superman movies and Hellboy movies (by Guillermo del Toro). I am curious to know about your favorites.

      B2B.

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    10. I do not think E-Sherlock's intellect has diminished. I think the world is much harder to deduce because you have over a hundred years of technology throwing in more variables for him to process. Because air travel is common you have many more alternate origins to consider. Communications and the shrinking world also muddies the waters. A century worth of new chemical compounds and bio-technology also adds more sources to consider.

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  7. I can only say that I renamed CBS Holmes Captain Obvious, because most of his deductions are really not impressive. Just because the detectives around him are too stupid to see it, it doesn't mean that the audience is similar blind. I usually know the solution of the case halfway through the episode.

    I see comic book movies not from the point of view of an obsessive comic book fan, but from the point of view of someone, who can enjoy a well done movie or series. And from this point of view, the picks are pretty narrow. The Batman franchise does very well, I liked the campy 60th version as well as the animated series, the Burton version and the reboot I think works mostly because it toned down most of the comic book aspects and did a good mix between the superhero genre and reality (well, movie reality). Plus, I was a big fan of Heath Ledger long before he even did Hollywood movies.
    The Superman franchise...let's put it this way: I don't even like the Christophe Reeve movies. The character is just too perfect, overall. There are one or two TV series adaptions which worked for me, though (NOT Smallville).
    The Spiderman franchise I mostly enjoy, but only up to a certain point. As I said, the constant angsting gets very annoying very fast. I'm a sucker for the "With great power comes great responsibility" line, though.
    X-Man suffers from too much focus on Wolverine.
    Hellboy I haven't seen, so I can't judge. Same for The Avengers (yeah, I know, that's practically a crime). On the top of my mind, there are a couple which were okay for a one watch, but none which I would call really good.
    And I got totally hooked on "Arrow"...again, great job to mix the Superhero genre with a dose of reality.

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    1. Thanks for the detailed reply, swanpride.

      You are right about the deductions of Elementary Holmes. On top of that, Joan seems to be making most of the deductions in the recent episodes. She was instrumental in trapping Moriarty in the first season finale.

      I too like the Adam West Batman series. Agree that the X-Men movies focussed way too much on Wolverine. Hugh Jackman is a great actor, but Wolverine is not that great a character. I enjoyed Ian McKellen's Magneto much better.

      B2B.

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    2. Well, Magneto is a more interesting character from the get go...as is Mystique. I think the best scene of all the movies was the brief talk in which Nightcrawler asked her why she didn't simply pretend to be a normal human being since she has the power to do so...and she said "Because I shouldn't need to" (I'm paraphrasing). If they just had focussed on that aspect instead of an unnecessary love-triangle and a tragic forgotten past nobody gave a shit about.... honestly, the X-men have enough problems just being what they are, is there any need to add contrived twists on top of it?

      I really recommend Arrow, btw. I headdesked during the first episode because of the cheesy voice-over but they thankfully got rid of it very fast and after that the first season picked up to what is now one of my favourite TV shows.

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    3. Magneto is a far more interesting character than Wolverine and Ian McKellen nailed that part. I also liked Michael Fassbender's performance in X-Men:First Class.

      I also liked the big role given to Mystique by Bryan Singer. Rebecca Romijn was great in the role. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Jennifer Lawrence's version.

      I did watch the initial episodes of Arrow. Somehow, I lost interest. I guess I should take a relook.

      B2B.

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